4 min read
Words by David Glithero
I joined the Finisterre team here in London as Store Manager in the Autumn of 2018. Having worked in the outdoor clothing industry for many years I’ve always loved spending time with customers, discussing their trips and recommending good kit to help them as they head off to all corners of the globe.
I discovered Finisterre on the opening day of the Covent Garden store back in 2015. Seeing how they created a hub for the local community to get a taste of the Cornish coastal lifestyle and surf – that I spent much time enjoying growing up – is what initially drew me in. Then, discovering the work that goes into the sustainable design and production of the gear is what kept them on my radar of places I wanted to work ever since. It’s been a pleasure to be part of the team over the last couple of years; promoting our love of the sea, our passion to protect it and ultimately having some great conversation with the like-minded people of our growing community.
WakeUp and ride…
For water sports enthusiasts, WakeUp Docklands is, quite simply, one of London’s best kept secrets. Nestled in the sheltered waters of the Royal Victoria Dock, they operate wakeboard and paddleboard lessons on a seasonal basis from Spring to October each year.
Not only is it London’s only cable wakeboard park, located within the central transport network, the facility also offers over 4km of open water for paddle boarding – making it one of the best locations in the country to enjoy these rapidly growing sports, with a core team of water sports coaches and enthusiastic board riders, geared towards sharing the transformational health benefits of water sports alongside professional hospitality services.
Since its initial inception in 2012, the facility has grown into a vibrant community hub for board-riders from all backgrounds, such as surfers, snowboarders, kiteboarders, electric skateboarders… you name it! And with its two on-site bars, (The Oiler Bar and Byrney’s Beach Bar) set against impressive backdrop views of the O2 arena and Canary Wharf, WakeUp Docklands provides an oasis of calm and relaxed beach vibes in amongst the hustle and bustle of London living. It truly is a unique place for visitors to “Ride, Rest, & Reconnect”, in London.
Swim Wild in the Concrete Jungle
With leisure facilities and lidos closed nationwide during the summer lockdown, interest in open water swimming has soared. The National Open Water Coaching Association (NOWCA), which provides the safety system at 30 different lakes across the UK, saw a membership increase of 65%. This, coupled with the increasing studies on cold water benefiting mental health, has seen winter season attendance from October rise by over 320%.
Londoners now have access to a host of venues such as Hampstead Ponds, the Serpentine, Better at West Reservoir and Love Open Water urban oasis London Royal Docks, who run organised open water swimming through all seasons whilst also providing kit hire and educational products.
During winter ‘Cold Water Inductions’ are available at London Royal Docks, providing a full education in equipment, cold water shock, physiological responses, in-water self-monitoring and post swim safety. So if you fancy a day-time or night-time dip in London’s historic docklands against the backdrop of the city, check out Love Open Water.
Explore the Thames Path
The Thames river is the London’s oldest and probably most identifiable feature. Whether you are on it, in it, or above it.
The Thames Path is a long-distance walking trail, following the river for 184 miles (294 Km), from the beautiful Cotswolds right through the heart of London, ending at the Thames barrier in Woolwich. The trail passes through meadows, small villages and the great skyline of London, dotted with the city’s sights such as the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge.
People are often surprised with the amount of spectacular wildlife that you can see in the London section of the path. Starting in the southwest through Richmond and Putney, all sorts of wildfowl gently teeter on the river and there’s even the occasional Parakeet roosting in the trees overhead. And if you are really lucky you can find seals and the occasional Porpoise near the Isle of Dogs and further east towards the tidal barrier, with one famous seal called Sammy inhabiting Canary Wharfs docks!
Our London store is located at 7 Earlham Street in Covent Garden and, at time of writing, we’re open for business as usual. (Make sure to check your local store page in case this changes!) We’re looking forward to seeing our community, so pop in and say 'hi!' – whether you want more ideas for local Microadventures or fancy taking a look through our latest products. We can’t wait to see you.